Our new infographic is here, and reveals some major home truths about the country’s spending! Do you ever feel pressure to overspend on big calendar events such as Mother’s/Father’s Day, Easter or Christmas? You might not be alone, with over half of Brits going over their intended budget! #OccasionalSpending
There are infinite ways of earning money online today. Making videos and posting them on YouTube is arguably the most popular and profitable today. It, however, takes a lot of time and effort to make great YouTube videos capable of attracting a wide audience. To be able to make money on YouTube, you must employ concepts of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) otherwise people won’t find your videos. The videos must also be monetized which simply means you must allow Google to place ads on your videos in exchange for a small revenue. In a nutshell, making money on YouTube is all about making entertaining or useful videos that are bound to get many views attracting ad viewers in the process. For more on how you can make money on YouTube, below are some top tips to consider.
1. Set up a YouTube channel:
This is an obvious but crucial step to making money on YouTube. You need a YouTube channel that will host your videos. A YouTube channel also gives you access to many other resources that allow you to make money on YouTube.
2. Purpose to make high-quality engaging and authentic videos:
Since your ability to make money on YouTube depends on the popularity of your videos, you need to make high-quality videos which are engaging and authentic. The videos can be about anything really, but you need to focus on popular topics since your earnings highly depend on the number of views you get per video as well as the number of people watching your videos to the end.
For this reason, having a good video title isn’t enough. Your videos must be engaging for your audience to watch them to the end and even consider sharing it. The videos also need to have clear sound and quality. You also need to be the content creator otherwise you risk being banned. Copying videos and pasting them into your channel won’t earn you any money. YouTube is very strict on authenticity.
3. Don’t forget to monetise your videos:
A YouTube channel and high quality, engaging and authentic videos won’t earn you any money if you don’t monetise. As mentioned above, YouTube videos make money because of the ads that are placed in them. For YouTube to put ads in your videos, you must issue them permission to do so (this is popularly known as monetisation). Monetizing your videos is easy. Just click the monetisation tab and follow the instructions clicking the type of ads you want to appear. You should also add a preferred payment method at this stage among any other preferences.
4. Market your YouTube videos elsewhere:
To increase your chances of making money on YouTube, you should post your videos on many platforms apart from YouTube. For instance, you should market your videos on social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Remember, you make more money when your videos have a wider audience so, don’t just post your videos on YouTube and wait. Use your social media profiles, start a blog, request friends to share your videos, etc.
5. Make videos consistently:
You also need to make high quality and engaging videos as many times as possible to increase your earning potential on YouTube. YouTube channels with more videos have a higher probability of getting more views since audiences have more to see when they land on the channel. If you are successful at making good videos, your viewers are bound to watch more than one video. Ideally, you should make one video every week. You should, however, ensure you have quality content. Don’t just create videos for no reason. They have to be meaningful otherwise it won’t matter if you are consistent or not. It’s important to remember that YouTube pays more attention to highly popular videos. If your videos have many views but more dislikes than likes, your probability of earning will automatically go down.
6. Learn the basics of ranking videos on YouTube:
It’s worth noting that there are tips you can use to rank your videos higher on YouTube. First and foremost, you must use video titles with the right keywords. In essence, you should ask yourself what people looking for a video like yours are likely to search for on YouTube. This alone can help you rank your videos higher. Your video description should also have keywords. You can use online keyword tools like Google AdWords to find and choose the best keywords for your videos. Your main objective when choosing keywords is making sure your video titles and descriptions stands out from other competing videos.
Keywords aside you need to add the correct video tags and categories when uploading your video. This tip is important for ensuring your video reaches the right audience. A video that isn’t tagged appropriately won’t reach the intended audience which translates to low views and very little to no earnings.
7. Pay attention to video analytics:
This is another great way of ensuring you earn money consistently on YouTube. When you upload your first few videos, you should track the performance of each video as well as analyse the results. Tracking video analytics is important for identifying what works and what doesn’t with a high degree of accuracy. For instance, two similar videos can get different views simply because one has been optimised better than the other. Popular videos also tend to have titles that compel audiences to watch. Watching the performance of your videos will help you make better videos in the future.
Viral YouTube videos aren’t made by chance. You need a channel as well as high quality and engaging videos. You also need to monetise your videos and consider marketing them elsewhere. People who make a living off YouTube have also mastered the basics of ranking videos on YouTube. They also pay close attention to the performance of their videos and make videos consistently. You also need to focus on gaining a real audience since this is the only way of guaranteeing an audience for your future videos. There are more YouTube video money making tips to consider. However, the above seven tips are tested and proven.
New car sales fell by 20% in the UK in April 2017. This fall is attributed to the increase in vehicle tax effective on April 1st, 2017. According to the SMMT, the significant decline in new car sales in April was attributed to car buyers bringing forward their purchases ahead to avoid the vehicle tax rate increases effective from April 1st.
Official reports indicate that only 152,076 cars were registered in the UK in April. This represented a 19.8% drop from the April 2016. What’s interesting is the new car sales drop experienced in April 2017 was preceded by a record month. In March 2017, the UK registered over 560,000 new cars.
According to analysts, new car sales are expected to drop further. The car sector should brace for tougher times ahead given the decline was unexpected. What’s more interesting is the decline has affected cars using all types of fuels with diesel cars suffering the sharpest drop of 27.3%.
Under the new VED (Vehicle Excise Duty) rules, new car buyers in the UK pay tax depending on their vehicle’s emissions for the 1st year and then incur a flat charge of £140 for both petrol and diesel vehicles. New car owners who have bought cars worth over £40,000 are expected to incur and an additional surcharge of £310.
The new VED has seen the demand for new cars in the UK fall among businesses, private buyers, and large fleets. The decrease in demand is highest among private buyers. The number of private buyers buying new cars in the UK has fallen by 28.4% to 59,912. In regards to fuel type, the number of new diesel and petrol vehicle registrations dropped by 27.3% and 13.1% respectively. The best selling cars in the UK in April 2017 were the Ford Fiesta and Nissan Qashqai which sold 4,957 and 4,430 units respectively.
According to Mike Hawes, C.E.O. of SMMT, the new VED rules effective on April 1st pushed new vehicle buyers to bring forward their purchases to March 2017 just to avoid additional costs. With that in mind, vehicle purchases were bound to drop in April 2017. According to Hawes, the new car market remains strong despite the decline. He expects the demand to stabilise in the next remaining months of the year.
The HIS Market Chief European & UK economist Howard Archer is however of a different opinion. Archer sees the decline in new car sales as a more long-term problem attributed to the current squeeze being experienced on consumer spending.
The drop in new car sales reinforces the belief that the new car industry will have a difficult time in the future given that private car sales have suffered the biggest drop in April. Private car sales have also dropped consecutively since January 2017. As the purchasing power of UK citizens declines because of high inflation, increasing household debt and stagnant wage growth, Archer believes that the spending power stands to decrease further.
Used car industry players see things differently. According to used car website (AA Cars) Director of Motoring Services, Simon Benson, the current decline in new car sales creates enormous opportunities for used car companies. Benson sees more car buyers in the UK preferring used cars creating a boom in the used car market. Although the decline in new car sales was anticipated in April, the sharp drop-off caught most industry players by surprise.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) deems maternity pay decent if it is equal to at least 66.67% of a woman’s earnings before maternity or more than £840 monthly. In this regard, British maternity pay ranks very poorly in Europe and among other developed countries.
A recent TUC report shows that British mothers get just one and a half months worth of decent maternity pay during their maternity leave. This ranks Britain third worst in the entire euro zone in regards to paternal benefits. The most recent TUC report shows that British mothers are only ahead of Ireland and Slovakia in regards to paternal benefits.
Under current UK laws, women can take 12 months of maternity leave. In such a case, one qualifies for 39 weeks of paid leave. For the first six weeks, mothers are entitled to 90% of their current salary. Their entitlement then drops significantly to approximately £140 a week which is way below Britain’s minimum wage according to Trades Union Congress.
The below average maternity pay has forced many UK mothers back to work earlier than is recommended just to make ends meet. This is according to the TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady. O’Grady states that Britain is in the ”relegation zone” in regards to reasonably paid maternity leave.
While UK mothers struggle to survive on minuscule maternity pay, go back to work a few weeks after giving birth or consider surviving on short-term debt like payday loans, their counterparts in Croatia enjoy six months of decently-paid maternity leave according to the TUC. Croatia has the best parental benefits. Hungary follows closely with over 5.5 months of decently-paid maternity leave.
The Czech Republic and Poland rank third and fourth in the list of countries with the best maternity pay. Estonia, Italy, and Spain have all tied in the fifth spot with 3.7 months of decently-paid maternity leave each.
What’s more interesting is UK mothers are below their Bulgaria counterparts regardless of the fact that Bulgaria is among the poorest countries in Eastern Europe. Mothers in Bulgaria are entitled to 410 days of paid maternity leave according to statistics from the OECD. It gets better. The pay is approximately 90% of a mother’s gross salary, and there is an option for mothers to take another year off with their pay matching the minimum wage. The maternity leave is also transferable to the father or guardians such as grandparents who are still part of the working population.
Greece is also ahead of the UK in regards to maternity leave with 43 weeks of paid leave equivalent to over 50% of mother’s average earnings. Although the minimum wage in Greece has fallen due to austerity measures imposed in the past, mothers in Greece are still better off.
Mothers in Germany enjoy 14 weeks of fully-paid leave. The same applies to mothers in Austria, France, and Spain. According to OECD statistics, Ireland offers 42 weeks maternity leave, 26 of which are paid (flat rate of 230 Euros per week).
The United States doesn’t warrant paid maternity leave. However, companies which employ more than 50 people must provide three months of unpaid job-protected leave. Some states like New Jersey, California Rhode Island guarantee paid maternity leave. Most medium-sized and large companies in the U.S. also offer paid leave which usually matches the wages of the mother and lasts for three months.
What should be done?
According to the TUC, the UK government needs to increase the statutory maternity pay as well as maternity allowance to match the minimum wage so that UK mothers can enjoy decent paternal benefits. Such a move would also ensure UK mothers go back to work when they are healthy and ready. The TUC has also urged the UK government to boost the shared parental pay as well as paternity pay.
The national trade union believes money shouldn’t be the main factor for UK mothers looking to decide who should look after their newborn. With the current maternity pay way below the minimum wage, UK mothers have no choice but to choose work over their newborns or take up short-term loans to survive maternity.
A recent research study done by comparethemarket.com indicates that UK mothers spend at least £184 per week on their newborns. The research study surveyed 1500 new as well as expectant mothers/parents. According to Jody Coughlan, the Head of life insurance at comparethemarket.com (a price comparison website), the UK government’s statutory maternity pay of £139.58 weekly leaves parents with a deficit of £44.44 a week which translates to £2,310 a year. According to Mr. Coughlan, this figure doesn’t even consider other bills faced by households such as energy bills and monthly mortgage repayments.
Many Britons, more so young people could be unable to afford cars in the future after insurers warned of higher annual premiums. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) puts typical cover costs at £462 and projects a yearly increase of 8% due to tax hikes and whiplash claims. This may see annual car insurance premiums in Britain increase to £1,000.
Elderly drivers haven’t been spared either. Drivers aged 65 years and above face an additional £300 charge. The typical comprehensive motor insurance policy premium in Britain also stands to increase by approximately £75 yearly to cater for the changes the UK government has made on personal injury payouts.
Although the changes favour victims of car crashes and medical negligence among other related car insurance incidents, the move puts more pressure on insurers, the National Health Service and other public bodies charged with the responsibility of paying the increased claims. According to Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, the changes have significant implications on both the private and public sector.
According to Mohammad Khan who is the Head of General Insurance at PwC, the changes will increase costs for drivers in the UK. Motor insurance prices are bound to increase. Khan also sees an increase in commercial insurance rates applicable to small businesses. Following the government changes, there is an anticipated increase of £50 to £75 in the cost of comprehensive insurance with the increase for both young and old drivers reaching £1,000 and £300 respectively.
According to Khan, the announcement, as well as the increase in IPT (Insurance Premium Tax), makes any prior savings enjoyed on premiums redundant. The government’s personal injury reforms were anticipated to offer an average savings of £40 for every motor insurance policy. Khan sees significant increases in the price of insurance for young and old drivers despite the fact that the increasing competitiveness in the insurance industry is expected to offer better prices.
Reinsurance prices are also expected to go up for liability and motor reinsurance covers. This will see most companies become over dependent on lower-level reinsurance companies whose cost of doing business is bound to increase after renewing their reinsurance.
Discount rate falls from 2.5% to -0.75% as of 20th March 2017
The discount rate had remained the same since 2001. When victims of serious car injuries accept compensation payments in a lump sum, the actual payment received is adjusted to account for the interest the amount is expected to earn after being invested.
Claimants have to be treated like risk-averse investors who are dependent on the amount they receive for a large part or the entire duration of their life. Compensation awarded using the discount rate is meant to put individuals in similar financial positions had they not suffered an injury, while taking into account their healthcare costs and future earnings.
The discount rate has fallen from 2.5% to -0.75% as of 20th March. Compensation payments have also increased. The effects of this decision will have a significant knock-on consequence on public services like the NHS facing large personal injury liabilities. The NHS saw its clinical negligence costs increase from £1.2 billion in 2015 to £1.5 billion in 2016 in England.
The insurance industry will also be affected significantly by the move. According to the Director General of ABI, Huw Evans, the decision to cut the discount rate from 2.5% to -0.75% is crazy and reckless. Evans sees a drastic increase in claims costs which will, in turn, increase the liability and motor premiums for countless drivers as well as business in the UK. Evans estimates that over 36 million policies will be affected just to compensate a few claimants every year.
While setting the rate, Ms. Truss who is a Justice Secretary and independent Lord Chancellor claimed she was confident she set the only legally acceptable rate. Many are however of the idea that the rate is still unfair. For instance, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron feels the rate is unfair to young people who may very well be unable to afford cars as the cost of insurance rises to £1,000.
Although the UK government promises to fund the NHS Litigation Authority appropriately to cater for the changes to clinical negligence costs in hospitals as well as ensure a closer working relationship between GPs and the Department of Health, insurance costs are still expected to rise drastically. Other measures such as consultations meant to create a better framework for defenders and claimants are also expected to bear little fruit if they are not followed by serious changes.
Bonds are simply signed agreements acknowledging a debt. Bonds are issued by governments and companies to raise capital. People who buy bonds are paid a certain amount of interest plus their capital investment at a specific date in the future. Bonds are attractive investments because they are low-risk and investors usually know how much money they will make from the onset.
Types of bonds
To be able to invest in bonds successfully, you need to understand the different types of bonds available. Bonds are classified according to the institution that issues them. Governments and companies can issue bonds. Government-issued bonds are known as government bonds while those issued by companies are known as corporate bonds.
Government bonds are less risky since the likely hood of a government failing to repay bond investors is very low. Government bonds can either be short-dated or long-dated. Short-dated government bonds tend to have the lowest returns since most people aren’t willing to wait for decades to enjoy investment returns.
Corporate bonds are riskier than government bonds since the chances of a company defaulting on its debt obligations are higher. Nevertheless, corporate bonds attract better returns than government bonds. The chances of shareholders being paid in the event of a default are also higher.
Bond investment risk grading
Before you invest in a bond, it is important for you to assess the riskiness of your investment. Luckily, bonds are graded depending on their credit risks, so it is easy to know if a bond’s credit risk is within your risk appetite. Investment grade bonds are rated from AAA to BB. These types of bonds have a favourable credit risk. Such bonds are issued by governments and big, blue-chip companies. It is important for you to understand the bond credit rating system in-depth for you to be able to choose bonds with a favourable credit risk.
Like any other traded securities, the prices of bonds fluctuate. To be able to invest in bonds successfully you should focus on the yield which is simply the money you will make as interest. The yield and bond price are inversely correlated in that the yield goes up when the price goes down, and vice versa. Understanding this correlation will help you choose the most profitable bonds.
Investing in bonds
There are several options to consider when investing in bonds in the UK. One, you can buy bonds through a broker who is a member of the London Stock Exchange. You can also buy directly from the company issuing the bond. It is safer to go through a broker who is a member of the London Stock Exchange. The London Stock Exchange has a platform that allows retail investors to buy and sell government bonds and corporate bonds. The exchange has safeguards in place that protect investors and their investment.
Besides using brokers, you can invest in bonds in the UK via a dedicated bond fund. This option is ideal for first-time bond investors since you get access to a fund manager who will invest in bonds on your behalf while advising you accordingly. It is important to consult a bond manager when investing in bonds for the first time since bond investing can be confusing initially, and timing is a crucial factor when investing in bonds. Your ability to make money is highly dependent on when you buy/sell your bond. Furthermore, bond managers have in-depth knowledge about the bond market.
Seasoned bond investors can consider more sophisticated bond investing options such as investing in fixed income EFTs (Exchange Traded Funds) which track indices composed of different types of bonds.
Bond investing is low-risk and very profitable in the long term. You should, however, grasp the basics first and seek the services of a bond manager to get the best out of the market without exposing yourself to unnecessary risks. The above guide covers the basics to investing in bonds in the UK. It is advisable to utilise this guide as a tool for conducting further research.
Definition: Financial Shock
Financial shock can be defined as an unexpected event that affects a person’s finances negatively. Emergency expenses such as shock utility bills, home repair and car repair bills are some of the most common causes of financial shock. Such expenses are bound to disorganise your finances if you don’t have adequate savings to cover them. This highlights the importance of setting up an emergency fund as soon as possible.
Emergency expenses can force you to deplete your savings, borrow from friends and family as well as take up short term loans like payday loans. To avoid over-reliance on such measures which usually cause more financial stress, you need to build an emergency fund. Ideally, you should have six months worth of living expenses or more in your emergency fund. If that’s not the case with you and you are in financial distress because of an emergency expense, it’s not the end of the world. Here’s what you need to do to recover.
Step 1: Acceptance
To tackle any difficulty in life, you must accept your situation first. Acceptance is important because it helps you tackle the root cause of your problem. Every financial difficulty can be avoided by taking some measure earlier in life. Acceptance will help you see where you went wrong. For instance, you may realise you didn’t have enough savings, good insurance, etc. Instead of wasting time feeling sorry for yourself, accept and spring into action.
Step 2: Assess your situation
Once you accept your current situation, proceed and find out how much resources you have and the liabilities you face. You need to know your exact financial health to get out of financial distress and formulate a realistic plan. You should find out your total monthly income, expenses, and debt. Do you have payday loans, credit card debt, car loans, etc.? You should also find out how much you have in assets. It’s also important to know the short term and long term implications of the financial shock you have faced, if there are any. For instance, you may have taken out a loan to settle an emergency expense. What are the repayment terms?
Step 3: Set your goals
After getting the true picture of your current financial situation, it’s time to set goals aimed at getting you out of the situation. The goals should be specific. After assessing your current situation, you should know how much money you need to get out of your current financial situation. With this in mind, you should have goals detailing how you intend to make the amount of money you need to get out of debt. Your goals must be realistic otherwise you will never be able to recover from the financial shock. Your goals also need to be measurable. To do this, break up large goals into small manageable steps. The idea here is to be completely honest with yourself and ensure you achieve whatever you decide to do to make your financial situation better.
Step 4: Formulate a plan
With clear, realistic and measurable goals in place, you should be able to formulate a good plan. When planning, you need to know where you will get money for paying outstanding debt. You can consider getting another job or adjusting your budget. In most cases, there are expenses you can forgo to pay up outstanding debt. You can also create new income streams by moving to a cheaper house, selling an asset, using public transport, etc. After suffering financial shock, you need to cut down on unnecessary spending otherwise you won’t recover. Your plan should focus on this without putting too much pressure on significant expenses. Don’t forget to include an emergency fund in your plan.
Step 5: Take action
All the steps discussed above are useless if you don’t take action. You must make those lifestyle changes and pursue your goals religiously to recover. Most people dream about improving their financial situation, but nothing changes until you take action.
Recovering from financial shock starts with acceptance. You must also assess your current situation to identify your mistakes. Proceed by setting goals and formulating a plan that will take you out of your situation and protect you for in the future. Lastly, you need to take action. You can’t get out of financial shock if you don’t do anything to change your situation. Become debt free, build an adequate emergency fund and take up the necessary insurance coverage to protect yourself in the future.
What is fiscal policy?
Fiscal policy can be defined as the means by which governments adjust spending levels as well as tax rates to influence a country’s economy.
What is monetary policy?
Monetary policy can be defined as the process by which monetary authorities of a country i.e. the central banks or currency boards control the supply of money by changing interest rates.
Effects of fiscal policy on personal finance
Since fiscal policy is simply about how the government decides to spend money as well as the tax rates/rules it puts in place, fiscal policy has a significant impact on the personal finances of citizens in a country. Government spending takes many forms varying from government investments in development to spending on social security payments, welfare, etc.
When a government spends more on development, there is a positive impact on the economy. For instance, more jobs are created, and citizens have more money in their pockets to spend on goods and services. When people have more money, they are able to support small businesses which are the main drivers of the economy. The opposite happens when the government lowers spending on development. Unemployment is bound to rise. The price of goods and services also rises making life expensive.
The government’s stand on taxes also has a direct impact on your personal finance. When the government lowers income tax, for instance, citizens have more money to spend on goods and services. This, in turn, propels the industries that make those goods and services boosting the economy in the process. When the income tax is too high, citizens have less money in their pockets which reduces their buying power and slows down the economy.
In a nutshell, your personal finances are bound to be affected favourably when there are favourable tax laws and the government is spending money on things that grow the economy and put more money into the pockets of ordinary citizens.
Effects of monetary policy on personal finance
The monetary authorities of a country i.e. the central banks control the supply of money mainly to boost the economy. Central banks have several of tools for controlling the money supply. For instance, central banks can increase or decrease the amount of reserves banks are required to maintain. This increases or decreases the amount of money banks have for lending to the public as loans. Central banks can also buy or sell financial instruments like bonds to increase or decrease the money supply. Central banks can also raise or lower interest rates to make loans expensive or cheap.
Central banks can maintain tight, neutral or loose monetary policy depending on the performance of the economy. For instance, central banks tend to lower interest rates when there is poor economic growth. This encourages people to borrow since people have more access to cheap loans. This type of monetary policy is accommodative. Central banks can also take tight monetary policy stands i.e. raising short-term interest rates to moderate the pace of economic growth. This usually takes place when inflation is increasing significantly, and central banks want to reduce the amount of money in circulation to stabilise prices.
Monetary policy has a direct and indirect impact on personal finance. The direct impact revolves around the direction of interest rates while the indirect impact revolves around the expectations of economic players. When central banks raise interests, the cost of credit also increases as lenders increase the interest rates charged on loans. New, as well as existing loans, become more expensive. In regards to expectations, potential investors who depend on loans are bound to slow down or stop investing when the cost of loans increases. Monetary policy also has an effect on asset classes such as bonds, equities, real estate, commodities, and currencies. In real estate, for instance, high-interest rates tend to make mortgages expensive.
Fiscal and monetary policies have a significant impact on every person’s finances. Government spending and tax rates have a significant impact on development, employment, social security payments and overall economic growth which determines how much money citizens have in their pockets. The interest rates set by central banks also determines how much money is circulating in the economy at any given time and this has an effect on how much citizens pay for goods and services.
You must strive to understand fiscal and monetary policy in-depth for you to be able to make smart personal finance decisions.